Mountain Hardwear Torch Jacket (men's) : Fits Like a Glove
Read about the Torch jacket and other trail jackets in our archives...more.


Mountain Hardwear Curved Ridge Jacket : My Favorite Fleece

On a chilly Seattle December day a few weeks back, I just had to get out for a hike. It was 32° and snowing big, fat, wet snowflakes mixed with big, fat, wet raindrops.

As I pulled into the parking lot at Carkeek Park and saw no other cars, it crossed my mind that I was foolish--not tenacious.   But I layered up, pulled my trekking poles out of my Subie, and headed up the trail into the forest.

Considering that I got soaked to the skin under my Italian-made soft shell nylon pants, and my Gore-Tex® anorak also soaked through, I was glad I wore my Mountain Hardwear Curved Ridge jacket under the anorak. That soft and comfy Polartec®/Thermal Pro® Cobbler(TM) fleece over my turtleneck kept me warm despite the bone-chilling, nonstop snow and rain.

The first month I had this jacket I threw it on first thing each morning and wore it all day--around the house, out shopping, to the office layered over a shirt, and, of course, out exercising. I reluctantly relinquished it to the washing machine, and it came out warm and fresh, ready for another marathon. At Christmas a good friend gently suggested I try pulling out something else from my closet for a change.

For a day-long hike up Rattlesnake Ridge, the Curved Ridge jacket was perfect layered over a t-shirt on a cool but dry day. The overlay around the collar and the nifty protective cuff around my wrists helped keep out the breeze and chill. When I warmed up from the uphill hiking, I unzipped the jacket but didn't need to take it off since it was so breathable. On New Year's Day, I wore it under my ski parka downhill skiing, and it helped keep me warm and loose on a very cold and windy day in the mountains.

I've accumulated more than a dozen fleece jackets and tops over the last few years, and the Curved Ridge has quickly become my favorite. The cut is subtly fitted around the waist, so it's flattering and stays smooth and trim as an underneath layer.

Bottom Line: This warm and lightweight Polartec fleece jacket has that extra something that separates it from the crowd of similar jackets. Well designed, well made, and well worth it.--(J.I. Jan 07)

Price: $150

BUY ONLINE : , Backcountry ski and snowboard gear, camping,

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When hiking or camping, always carry the "10 Essentials":

Extra clothing, extra food and water, lighter or water-proof matches and fire starter, map in waterproof envelope, compass, pocket knife, sunscreen and sunglasses, flashlight or headlamp, first aid kit, emergency shelter.

Source: Seattle Mountain Rescue and Seattle Mountaineers.

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